Archive for the ‘historic places’ Category

Fort Tilden in Five Parts

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on April 4, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Today my post comes to you in 5 parts.  It continues the journey deeper into the Rockaways uncovering some hidden gems and forgotten spaces that have been abandoned by man and rescued by nature.  It also explores a section of beach that has been impacted by nature and has not yet been returned to man.

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Over the summer and into early fall of 2013, I returned to understand and document the impact Hurricane Sandy had to this area.  More and more I became intrigued by the history and the stories the locals shared.

I hope you enjoy the journey:


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®



Getting All the Facts

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on January 16, 2014 at 11:24 pm

There is the expression: things are not as they appear.

That would apply to me as I made assumptions about an annual event in mid-town.  Let me explain.

During the month of November, I photographed the installation and decorating of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.  On two of the four days shooting, I witnessed a man organizing branches. I thought these branches were removed from the tree on purpose and would be disposed.  (Similar to what we do with a home Christmas Tree.)  Well let me tell you why I was wrong with my assumption.

ImageThe tree was to be up through January 7, 2014. Since it took four weeks to decorate, I figured it would take a few days to remove and I wanted to complete the documentation of this holiday tradition.  To my surprise when I arrived early the morning of January 10, everything was gone. Camera in hand, I had nothing to photograph.

I walked down the stairs around the plaza by the ice rink and noticed a lovely cafe. This space had large glass windows overlooking the skaters. Living in the city for 8 years, I had never gotten this close to the ice.

On this morning it was oh so sweetly quiet.  And it was very cold. I decided a cup of coffee at this rink side cafe would be a perfect way to begin my Friday.

I found the street level elevator and took it down to the Rock Center Cafe.  The hostess sat me by the large windows overlooking the rink where 10 women were having a skating lesson.

ImageWhen my waitress came over, I began inquiring about the tree. I asked her when did it all get taken down? She told me the crew swoops in under the cloak of darkness and in one night removes everything. By sunrise it is all back to normal-every last light, tree branch, angel is taken away. It was all done by January 8.

We continued talking as I told her of my photographing the weeks of decorating. She had some wonderful fun facts about the process. In addition to stringing lights on the tree, the men and women on the scaffolding rebuild the shape of the tree. In transport, many branches are broken off; during the decorating they add these lost branches back in.

So the man I saw organizing branches was not disposing them, but actually sorting them for placement. Things were not as they appeared.

She also told me one other fact about the disposal of the tree I didn’t know. In addition to the wood being milled for Habitat for Humanity, and over 3 tons of mulch being generated for the BSA, the largest portion of the trunk is donated to the U.S. Equestrian Team as an obstacle jump.

And so even though I didn’t get to photograph the taking down of the tree this year, I am smarter about what is involved in this annual tradition.

After our conversation, I enjoyed a lovely cup of coffee with my bagel. Topping this experience off, my friend brought me a complimentary raspberry hot chocolate.

The morning power breakfast was beginning as the corporate suits trickled in. It was time for this photographer in work-boots and baseball-hat to head out.

Oh, how I love this town.


Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

NYC Holiday Tradition

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on December 24, 2013 at 2:26 am

My dad was in charge of Holiday decorating, more specifically the lights inside and out. It would be a production that would go on for days. Ladders of all heights would come out; staple guns and electrical tape too. Bulbs would have to be tested and retested for each strand of lights-my dad had some sort of voltage tester for this.

It was a project that he thoroughly enjoyed. It was a project that made my mother crazy. He would be out in the cold and she would be inside yelling at him through the windows. Good times.

Our lights growing up were blue.  (The old fashioned bulbs instead of the white twinkle lights of today).  And our tree had blue/green balls and garland with an angel at the top.

In 1931 at the site that is now Rockefeller Center, a tree was erected by the construction workers of that project in celebration of a paycheck. Everyone at that time was still feeling the impact of the Depression.

In current day New York I have seen the crowds swarm around the tree during the Holiday Season, year after year, without every knowing the history of this tradition.  This MovieShort tells that story.

This year I went to the site on 4 different occasions to document what it takes to prepare this tree for the lighting in December.  My first day of shooting was November 8, 2013 as they rolled the tree onto the plaza.

I’ve dedicated this MovieShort to my dad, as he would have appreciated the time and effort it takes to make something really special.

May your Holidays Sparkle!

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

A Fall Art Show in The Rockaways

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on September 28, 2013 at 11:06 pm

As mentioned in an earlier posting, I spent a good part of the summer exploring The Rockaways.

While roaming through Fort Tilden, I discovered the Rockaway Artists Alliance.

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This organization has 2 beautiful studios here, where they hold a variety of events throughout the year.

I was asked to participate in their exhibit “ArtSplash” with 4 of my fine art prints.  The show runs through October 13, 2013.

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Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

This is HUGE (at least for me…)

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on September 11, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Over the past few years I have volunteered at ICP. I find teaching teenagers through the Teen Academy program most interesting-these young people continue to amaze me with their creativity.

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As my relationship with the school grows, the continued networking with the educational staff stretches me artistically demanding a higher level of performance as a photographer.

On August 8, 2013 I received an email from the Coordinator of Community Programs at ICP regarding an exhibit that would coincide with the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. The Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) would be pulling images exclusively from open calls for this show; they extended the offering to the ICP educational staff. Since I had images from the storm, I submitted to the call with no expectations. [I have submitted too many times to count to a variety of shows in the past and been “kindly” turned down, but continued with optimism that this time would be different…]

On August 16 I received an email with the subject Hurricane Sandy Exhibition. As I read the first line in the email, I expected a familiar response just like before. Basically “thanks for submitting, but no thanks…”

Instead this is what it said:

Thank you so much for submitting photographs of Hurricane Sandy in response to the Museum of the City of New York’s open call. I am writing to inform you that your work has been selected for a special preview exhibition, Rising Waters: Photographs of Hurricane Sandy, which opens on Governors Island on August 24th.

I was not expecting this. As the words processed in my brain, there were multiple emotions rising to the surface. I couldn’t help laughing, and then I couldn’t help crying. I kept moving around my apartment shouting and balling-my dog Kodi didn’t know what to do.

The joy and relief that if you keep persevering eventually a dream will come true. These few positive words launched a release of emotions that have been building for years-it was exhilarating!!

Saturday I visited the exhibit on Governors Island. It blew me away. Having lived through the storm, photographs of areas hit much harder than my part of town moved me in a way that can only be experienced first hand. The tragedy and the optimism-the human spirit that keeps moving forward.

I saw for the first time in my photography career my name and work projected on a wall over 8 feet tall. That made this all real.

The exhibit RISING WATERS: Images of Hurricane Sandy is on display through September 29, 2013. Please join me at the closing reception September 22, 1-4:00pm. You will be very happy you did.

Until next time.

Teresa, 51art

adventure is life, live it! ®

How One Thing Leads to Another….

In historic places, NYC History, nyc photographer, NYC Today on September 10, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Act 1-It was summertime in the NorthEast.  Having grown up on the ocean where I learned how to swim about the same time I learned how to walk, there was a natural pull to the coast as soon as the weather turned warm.  Since a vacation was not in my future this year, being able to “get away” was going to be defined in a new way.

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Act 2-As an artist, the lines between working and relaxing continually blend together as work easily takes over more and more of the day.  To keep working without realizing that time off hasn’t been taken for days, weeks, even months becomes the norm.  Creating something unique and inspiring would (and still does) have all cylinders running-the down time could wait.  I needed to specifically plan time “off” to explore and recharge.

Act 3-Recent articles in the New York Times discussed how certain parts of the city were still having troubles rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.  I had never visited many of these areas and was curious to see these neighborhoods first hand.   A specific article regarding Broad Channel gave me pause; my curiosity was peaked and I needed to explore.

The Connection

With all of this turning over in my mind, I consulted google.  I looked for city beaches that would be less crazy; those that would remind me of what I experienced at the Jersey Shore many years ago with my grandparents.  I wanted something I could get to by METRO card, that would bring me to places hard hit by Sandy.

A beach located in Queens that is part of the National Parks System fit the bill.  July 17th I declared my first day of my “ONE DAY OFF A WEEK” project.  I packed my bag with reading material, snacks and water for the day.  And off I went by subway to Jacob Riis Park, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area that includes The Rockaways, Staten Island, and Sandy Hook, NJ.

This first day traveling (about 2hrs) was to get familiar with the trip.  And to jump in the ocean and enjoy a bit of summer.  These beaches have waves that are great for body surfing (if you enjoy that sort of thing…)!

Since then, I have traveled to the Rockaway’s once a week on my “Day Off” to continue the exploration and discovery, getting there a variety of ways.  (Subway, Bus, Bike, Car)

One day I bicycled from Bay Ridge Brooklyn through Coney Island, over the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge, into Breezy Point, (a closed community which I find very peculiar for a borough of NYC) and then on to the subway at 116th street (approx 25miles).

One day I explored Fort Tilden, a National Park where it’s beaches are currently closed due to Sandy.  Serious erosion along the shore makes this stretch of beach unsafe, and rumor has it that ammunition from WW2 washed ashore during the storm.  While there I explored the studios of the Rockaway Artist Alliance.  (More to come later regarding this organization.)

One day I took the subway to Broad Channel and biked across the Cross Bay Bridge into the Rockaways riding along the (broken) boardwalk out to Long Island.  On the way back I discovered Boardwalk Bagel at 108th street that makes the best crumb cake, the kind you can only find at the beach.  I ate it on my $2.00 ferry ride back to Wall Street.

These are just some of the hi-lights of what I discovered, and still so much more I haven’t.

There is over 7 miles of beach and boardwalk that opens to the Atlantic Ocean.  And then there is all of Jamaica Bay.  This is New York City.

The NYC Parks Department manages most of the area, and the balance is maintained by the National Parks Service. Filled with rich history, lots of natural wildlife, and miles and miles of area to explore, I am blown away that this is still NYC.  I can travel with $2.50 for the subway ride and a whole lot of curiosity.  This is why I love this town!

And the people of this community are working hard to rebuild after Sandy.  As I continue to visit this neighborhood weekly, I am discovering the strength of New York City.  These visits have also given me the basis for my next documentary project.  (Stay tuned…)

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

It’s All Happening at the Zoo…

In historic places, NYC Today on May 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Living in NYC, each month I try to visit one place I have never been or do one thing I have never done.  It was time to visit The Bronx Zoo.

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Since I wasn’t familiar with the Bronx, this was the perfect time to begin the adventure.  It was a warm Tuesday in August; the sun was shining and the temperature was mid to high 80’s.

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With my pack loaded with camera & film, I caught the #5 train heading north.

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Entering at the Asia Gate, I began my exploration through the African Plains.

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It was lunchtime as I approached the Baboon Reserve…

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…so I sat with a Peacock and enjoyed my PB&J.

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Past the Bears and on to Tiger Mountain.

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Finally, the journey ended in the Congo where the trees are tall and shady-a place the Gorilla’s call home.  Fabulous!

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Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

Enjoy a “MOVIE Short” touring the zoo:  

Seaside Heights after Hurricane Sandy

In historic places, NYC Today on November 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm

As we all find our way and move forward after the incredible storm that hit the mid-atlantic coast, I find that a moment of reflection to what once was and to what will be is appropriate.  As I mentioned in my July posting “The Merry-Go-Round”, I spent many a happy day at a boardwalk amusement park in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Photo courtesy of Fox News Latino

During the surge of Hurricane Sandy, this section along the Jersey Shore was one of many that has transformed from a thriving summer resort to a pile of rubble.

One has to stand in awe to the power nature truly has.

As painful as it may be to see the destruction of places and things we love, it helps put into perspective what things we really cherish:  family, friends and memories.

And as we rebuild here in NYC, Long Island and New Jersey, we should keep the force of nature in mind to make sounder decisions.  Change what once was so that the future will be stronger and brighter-allowing nature the space it needs to eb and flow.

I wish everyone a safe recovery.

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

The Merry-Go-Round

In historic places on July 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm

When I was a little girl, my grandparents would take my sister and I to the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore.  Our particular part of the world was “Seaside Heights“.  Before the days of Great Adventure (Six Flags) this is where we screamed on the roller coaster, bumped the bumper cars and ate salt water taffy, cotton candy & ice cream until our bellies were ready to burst.

But the most fun of all is when we got to ride on the Merry-Go-Round.  I would always have to be on a horse that moved up and down-I would fly!

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When I was very little my grandfather would stand beside me and hold on to make sure I would never slip off.  As I got older, they would let me ride on my own-such freedom! The joy was that each time I went around, I would see my grandmother sitting on the park bench and she would wave to me.  Oh boy was that terrific fun!

Seaside was such a great place as a child.  This is where my grandfather would win us large stuffed animals all by tossing a few rings at a glass bottle.

It was later as a teenager that I would win my first prize, a record album “The Best of Bread” at the booth with the large spinning wheel.  Man, was I excited.  I still think I have it around somewhere…

I always wanted to work at the boardwalk when I was old enough.  Gran would not have it. She was concerned about what went on after the sun went down.  Me, I thought it would be the coolest thing in the world!

Well, I never did get to work there.  But I have wonderful memories of riding that Merry-Go-Round so many years ago.

Recently, I had a chance to ride a different carousel in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. This is the oldest carousel on the Island (built-in 1876).  Maybe even the US.  [It is listed in the National Historical Register as an official landmark. Prior to moving to Martha’s Vineyard in 1884, the carousel spun on Coney Island’s boardwalk]*

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My sister took me there to ride the “Flying Horses”.  On this ride you get to reach for the “brass ring” every time you go around.  There is only one on each ride, and if you are lucky enough to grab it the next ride is free.  There is also a bit of competition among riders (of all ages) trying to out-do each other with the quantity of rings you pull for your total ride. I still haven’t pulled the brass ring, but there will always be the next time around…

The ride on the Merry-Go-Round will make you smile and the memories will last a lifetime. So what are you waiting for?  Go out and Fly!

Until next time.


adventure is life, live it! ®

*[information provided by]